Cozying Up To Kindle

how kindle re-ignited a love of reading,
Image re-mix by L. Weldon

I adapt slowly to technological change. That’s an understatement. The first time I drove past a guy who was engaged in a lively conversation despite no one else nearby, I was struck with empathy and said something (in my Compassionate Mom voice) to my kids about the burden of mental illness. “He WAS talking to someone,” my son corrected me (using his Patient Teenager voice). Then he explained the concept of Bluetooth headsets to me.

So you can logically assume I’ve been minimally aware of all the e-readers on the market. Well, at least not aware of their benefits. But a few months ago my college student son bought himself a Kindle with his own earnings. He told me it would enable him to get textbooks more easily. Decent rationale.

But from very start Kindle hooked him on much more than textbooks. Clichéd as it might sound, Kindle re-kindled his love of reading. Back when he was elementary school-aged my son read for hours at a time. I’d find him curled up on the couch or out on a porch chair, engrossed in a book. As he got into his teens he read fewer and fewer books. He spent more time with friends, more time on the net, and when he did read his material of choice tended to be magazines. Sadly, I assumed his voracious reading days were over.

I was wrong. The first two weeks he owned the Kindle he read over a dozen books, scrambling eagerly through every word. That pace hasn’t diminished. When he’s curious about a subject he reads a whole Kindle book on it. Maybe two. He finds more depth in this approach than scrolling through the net looking for information, although he hasn’t given up the net by any means. I don’t hear much about all the magazine and newspapers he’s subscribed to on his Kindle until he says something like, “Oh yeah, I read an article about that last week in the Washington Post.” He still reads required material for his college classes but when he’s home on the weekends I tend to find him curled up on the couch or in a porch chair, getting in some recreational reading on his Kindle.

An older member of the family will be getting the larger version, the Kindle DX, as his Christmas gift this year. Chances are he’ll be telling me about all the e-reader advantages not found in that old format I still enjoy, bound books. Maybe he’ll leave it lying around and I’ll give Kindle a try.

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Laura is the author of a poetry collection titled Tending and Free Range Learning, a handbook of natural learning. She lives on a small farm notable only for its lovestruck goose.